The University of Exeter Business School has been awarded the Small Business Charter in recognition of its commitment to supporting student entrepreneurship, small businesses and the local economy.
The national accreditation is assessed by small business leaders, who were impressed with the Business School’s commitment to creating student entrepreneurs who can build real businesses.
Over the past three years, more than 30 student start-ups received funding and over 800 students were involved with Student Startups Programmes and the “With Proficiency in Entrepreneurship” pathway, which was awarded “exemplar” status.
Two entrepreneurship societies supported by the Business School have over 500 members per year, providing them with useful tools to create and develop their own businesses.
The panel also highlighted the Business School’s work with SMEs: over the assessment period 257 students took work placements within local SMEs, giving them invaluable hands-on experience and providing SMEs with access to a wide range of Business School talent.
The Business School was also praised for being prolific in creating partnerships with local SMEs, through initiatives such as Future Focus, the Inclusivity Project and the SME Network, which gives entrepreneurs the chance to gain knowledge, skills and insights that help them maximise productivity and build sustainable businesses.
Local business owners were found to benefit from a number of Business School activities including cyber-security education from the Exeter Science Park and involvement with the school’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Scheme.
Students at the University of Exeter Business School and entrepreneurs working with the university also have access to a dedicated space to work on their business ideas known as ‘The Deck’.
The Small Business Charter Award recognises business schools that demonstrate excellence in supporting small businesses, student enterprise, and the local economy.
The University of Exeter Business School will hold the award for five years. There are now 54 business schools that hold the SBC Award in the UK and Ireland.
Professor Alexandra Gerbasi, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter Business School, said: “We are delighted to have attained a Small Business Charter Award, which recognises our commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and SMEs.
“The University of Exeter Business School seeks to have a tangible impact on the local economy in the South West, and this reward will strengthen the support we offer through enabling us to deliver the Help to Grow: Management Course.
“We are proud of our research and innovation in areas such as circular economy that are helping local businesses to grow sustainably and our commitment to knowledge exchange through programmes such as the SME Network, which are contributing to a more robust local economy.”
Anne Kiem OBE, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter, and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools said: “We would like to congratulate everyone at the University of Exeter Business School on attaining their Small Business Charter Award. They have demonstrated commitment to their mission to support student entrepreneurship and SMEs, and it is clear from the evidence the high levels of engagement from local entrepreneurs and the tangible impacts this has on their local economy.”